Team Plattner Celebrate

Lucky 13 saddle-cloth for Australian-bred mare

Sabine Plattner’s private trainer Andre Nel celebrated a terrific first feature win as the yard’s Australian-bred Choisir mare Ma Choix registered her personal stakes icebreaker with a runaway score in the R250 000 Gr3 Victress Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday.


Ma Choix and Brandon Lerena are on their own at the finish of the Victress Stakes (Pic – Wayne Marks)

Nel has held his licence for just three months but the former La Plaisance Stud manager built further on his flying start for the private training operation, based in the scenic surrounds of Rondeberg on the Cape West Coast.

And the 13 saddle-cloth of Ma Choix was to prove less of a stumbling block than her 16 draw in the 17 horse field, as she jumped running and was always in the firing line.

With the field gunning for the outside rail as they switched into the home run, there may have been a few hard luck stories – with some scratching their heads over the jockey ‘sheep’ syndrome – even on the summer course with it’s fairer dynamics!

The sick leave of regular stable jockey Aldo Domeyer opened a late gap for KZN rider Brandon Lerena to fly into Cape Town and bank a decent riding commission – putting his own misfortune aside after suffering a fractured vertebra during track work at Summerveld at the end of September.

Lerena has only been back in action for two weeks but rode a perfectly judged race – hitting the front confidently (and what initially looked too early!) at the 400m, before stretching clear of the field to win by 3,75 lengths in a time of 112,26 secs.

Glen Puller and his owners would have been thrilled with the effort of 3yo Haarlem Shake, who was in front for a long way and stuck to her task to hang on for second.

She was the first ever winner for her sire Warm White Night when scoring first time up as a 2yo last term and looks to be headed in the right direction.

Brandon Lerena - on way home

Brandon Lerena – armchair ride

The run of the race was probably produced by Harold Crawford’s Can Cope, who came through to run out of her skin and pick up some valuable black-type in third a further half length back. She was the subject of a minor pre-race ownership change.

Moonsong Magic stayed on gently to run fourth and 1,10 lengths behind.

The other Plattner runner in the race was the more fancied Acrostar, trained by the Snaiths – she also jumped from a wide draw.

The daughter of Danehill Dancer made ground steadily, albeit unspectacularly, and managed a six length beaten sixth.

The 7-2 favourite Crystal Cavern was travelling well into the straight, but her rider S’manga Khumalo would have been grinding his teeth in frustration as he found himself well and truly boxed in.

The lesson – don’t gamble on getting a run up the outside rail! This run can best be ignored and the 12 lengths behind could be misleading next time on her formline.

Jockey Brandon Lerena confirmed that Ma Choix had enjoyed a good start and landed running and ‘she was there for nothing’.

“She was reefing thorugh the 500m and what surprised me was how quickly she turned it on. She gave me a good feeling,” he said.

Owner Sabine Plattner - enjoying a decent run

Owner Sabine Plattner – enjoying a decent run

Trainer Andre Nel, who will remember this race fondly, said that they knew they had their charge spot on.

“Well done to Brandon – he rode a pearler, and made me look clever in bringing him down,” he smiled.

Bred by Summertime Holdings Pty Ltd, NSW, the winner is a daughter of Choisir (AUS)  out of the New Zealand –bred Moniette, a daughter of  Montjeu (IRE).

Ma Choix was purchased by James Bester Bloodstock for A$125 000 on the 2012 Australian Easter Yearling Sale

Lightly raced, she has now won 5 races with 8 places from 16 runs for stakes for stakes of R428 625.

She can always be relied upon to run a decent race – and will make a decent broodmare when the day comes.


Gr3 Victress Stakes  (SAf-Gr3)

Kenilworth, South Africa, December 12, R250k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.52.26

1 – MA CHOIX (AUS), 58.0, b m 5, Choisir (AUS) – Moniette (NZ) by Montjeu (IRE). Owner Mrs S Plattner; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer A Nel; jockey B Lerena
2 – Harlem Shake (SAF), 51.5, b f 3, Warm White Night (SAF) – Malakeh (AUS) by Snippets (AUS)
3 – Can Cope (SAF), 58.0, b m 5, National Emblem (SAF) – Cornucopia (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 3.75, 0.50, 0.10

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